POLITICIANS have paid tribute to staff, parents and governors involved in the successful lobbying for a new school building at Holy Trinity College.
The Cookstown secondary is among 22 schools set to receive funding for new-build projects in the province, the Education Minister announced on Tuesday.
St Patricks Academy, Dungannon, Gaelscoil Ui Neill in Coalisland and Edendork Primary School in Dungannon will also benefit from new state-of-the-art buildings.
Speaking following Minister John O’Dowd’s announcement on Tuesday, SDLP Mid-Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone described the news as an “investment” in the area’s young people.
“It comes after a long campaign to secure a commitment to these projects from the Education Minister, and I pay tribute to those from the schools, principals, teachers, board of governors and parents, who worked hard in the pursuit of these new builds,” said Mr McGlone.
“The approval of the new school building projects in Mid-Ulster is a welcome investment in our young people and a much needed boost for the local construction industry.
The Assemblyman added: “The need for new build schools at these sites has now been accepted by the Minister and there must be no further delay in progressing these projects.”
Sinn Fein’s party leader in Cookstown, councillor Sean Clarke, also welcomed the news.
“The announcement by Minister O’Dowd is another very welcome step along the road and will be welcomed by students, teachers, parents and the wider community in the Cookstown District,” he said on behalf of local councillors.
“Sinn Féin representatives have worked closely with the school, the project group and with all other interested parties in bringing about this decision.
“It has been a long road with more work to be done in the planning stages but the momentum is there to keep the hard work going,”
Councillor Clarke said the decision recognised the “genuine need” in the community which would also fit within forthcoming plans for the future of post-primary education.
“We look forward to continuing to provide whatever support we can to see this project through to a successful conclusion which will provide a modern school, fit for purpose and which will benefit all of the children in the district,” he said.
“Finally we would like to commend Holy Trinity College staff, board of governors, pupils, parents and indeed everyone involved in the work so far, it will be worth the effort.”
Sinn Féin MLA and candidate in the Mid Ulster by-election Francie Molloy also welcomed the boost to education facitilies in Edendork, Cookstown and Coalisland.
“This is extremely welcome news,” he said.
“Not only will it boost the education experience of thousands of pupils in the coming years but in the current financial climate it will also provide work for those in the building and maintenance trade who have been hit hardest during the downturn in construction industry.”